LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — April is National Donate Life Month and UMC honored those who helped others get a second chance at life.
The UMC Center of Transplantation gathered for the annual Living Kidney Donor Reunion.
On Sunday, about 50 donors and recipients got together, some shared their experience during the donation process.
Doctor John Ham is one of the surgeons at UMC, he said a kidney transplant is used to treat kidney failure, and that most often family members are the most compatible.
“You're putting your life on the line a little bit because there are some risks donation and you're going to have some pain from it," said Ham.
Virginia Lopez was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2011 and her husband, Michael was a perfect match.
She told 13 Action News she was on dialysis for nine months before the transplant surgery.
The recovery process was long and hard but she’s happy to have been given a second chance at life.
"It wasn't after surgery that I felt relieved and everything started working out with y body and medically everything started coming back together," said Virginia.
"We went through the whole process together and seeing her in dialysis and what that was like was so hard breaking, there was no way I wouldn't done if I was a match. I need her more than she needs me," said Michael.
The Donate Life website reports 100,000 people in the US are waiting for a kidney donation.
The average wait time is between 3 to five years.